Learning pods or learning hubs have been popping up all over the country due to the pandemic and are reimagining the idea of both virtual and in-person learning. Learning pods provide smaller groups of students with a safe environment where they are supervised and supported by teachers while at the same time offering the flexibility of online learning. While learning pods were a quarantine staple, many families and communities may be wondering how they can gain the familiarity and results of a learning pod while still receiving a standards-driven, high-quality education.
While learning pods were largely organic and parent-driven, pods benefit students in virtual learning programs in several ways. One obvious benefit to learning pods is children having regular and structured interaction with their peers. Teachers in learning pods facilitate activities outside of regular coursework to benefit a child’s social emotional learning and encourage socialization with other students.
Consistent Meeting Times
The consistency of a learning pod provides students with the opportunity to see the same peers on a weekly basis, which can also support social development and provide students with friends they may fear missing because of their virtual schooling. Consistency in both routine and in relationships contributes to students feeling safe, empowered, and ready to learn.
Students can get out of the home and into varied environments, which can develop stimulation, encourage inquiry, and simply provide a change in routine. Through field trips and varied meet-up locations, learning pods also create a place for valuable hands-on learning such as science experiments, team or group projects, kinesthetic learning, crafts, and art projects, and so much more. Stepping away from the screen and using other senses activates different areas of learning that can help students to retain new information.
The Personalization Afforded By Small Group Learning
Another benefit of learning pods is that students have live in-person access to teachers who are dedicated specifically and solely to their education. With small groups, teachers can personalize instruction based on the child’s interests and learning style, further enhancing the flexible education a virtual environment provides. This offers more opportunities for a child to engage in the material she or he is learning and to facilitate a positive perspective to education.
Learning Pods Make Homeschool Easier For Parents
Virtual learning often means that parents and caregivers are juggling other responsibilities around their child’s school day. This can even include multiple learners in the same household. Learning pods not only benefit students but also provide parents and caregivers with added support, technology such as devices and math and science manipulatives and take the burden of helping students with questions about their course work.
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Jana is the Chief Academic Officer (CAO) of Method Schools and SmartFox K-12. After spending 14 years in the secondary classroom, she started at Method in curriculum and working with SmartFox. As Method’s CAO, she works with Method’s leadership, teaching, and curriculum staff as well as assisting with aspects of the day-to-day operations of the school. She has always been interested in the intersection of technology and education in driving equitable learning experiences for all students. Jana holds a B.A. in Print Journalism and an M.S. in Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology from the University of the Southern California. She is the proud mother of two children, an avid reader, and a baseball fan.